Lifeguards rescue 450 during Honolulu ocean party
HONOLULU (AP) — Lifeguards made about 450 rescues, but no one was hospitalized following the Fourth of July “floatilla” ocean party off Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, authorities said.
The celebration was “tame” compared to the last two years, state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said. The event had about 600 participants, drastically fewer than the estimated crowd of about 10,000 last year.
“As you know, in the past we’ve had serious situations and some people getting so wasted they couldn’t even swim,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at a news conference Tuesday.
Honolulu and state officials had pleaded for participants to be safe and responsible after hundreds were rescued and 10 people were hospitalized for alcohol-related injuries last year.
“It’s hard to see people, there’s a lot of floaties, there’s a lot of people in the water, and all it takes is for somebody to be floating face down for a while,” Caldwell said.
Honolulu police, the Coast Guard and the Department of Land and Natural Resources partnered this year to crack down on bad behavior and avoid repeating the events of last year.
“We wanted to really make a very visible presence in the area of the floatilla,” said Jason Redulla, enforcement chief for the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. “We wanted to deter any criminal activity, but also to make sure that we had enough resources and assets on scene to provide the level of safety and law enforcement that’s required for an event such as this.”